Patient Joins Fight Against Breast Cancer

Michelle Rush, 39, was born and raised in Chicago and grew up with in a large, close-knit family with three siblings. She has always been an outgoing, active woman with a sparkling personality who loves to travel, eat and shop. In early 2017, Rush’s world was forever changed when she discovered a small lump during a routine self-breast exam.

Rush made an appointment with a fellowship-trained breast surgeon at Little Company of Mary Hospital (LCMH) who confirmed her worst fear: the diagnoses was breast cancer. A team of oncology experts at LCMH immediately collaborated and developed a treatment plan for Rush. From March through July 2017, she underwent chemotherapy followed by surgery in August and radiation in November. Currently, Rush is undergoing adjuvant therapy at LCMH, which will be completed in September.

On Mother’s Day, May 13, you will see Michelle Rush among the participants in the 19th Annual Beverly Breast Cancer Walk. The walk starts at 8 a.m. at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Over the past 18 years, the Walk has raised more than $5.5 million to support LCMH’s award-winning Comprehensive Breast Health Center and impacted the lives of thousands of breast cancer survivors.

“My number one advice for women is to put their health first and to not be afraid of getting a mammogram,” Rush said. “A mammogram can save your life, and early detection is crucial.”

Along Michelle’s journey, she has utilized the Integrative Therapy services at LCMH that are provided free of charge to patients undergoing treatment, their families and those who support them. The Integrative Therapy department provides patients with support and programming that will allow them to experience a high quality of life throughout their cancer journey. Services include acupuncture, art therapy, breast cancer support group, yoga, guided imagery, hypnosis, meditation, and more.

“What I love most about LCMH is that I do not feel like just a number,” Rush said. “From the physicians to the nurses to everyone in between – I truly feel like I am at home and a part of a tight-knit community.”

Today, Rush is looking forward to living with a fresh new outlook on life. She has begun to plan trips with her family and friends once her treatment is completed. The Bahamas and San Diego are on her list.

“For me, breast cancer was not a death sentence but more so a wake-up call to not take life for granted and to live every day to the fullest,” Rush said.

With generous community support in 2017, the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk was able to sustain its support of current breast health programming and continue deepening its impact with the establishment of a crisis fund to assist LCMH breast cancer patients with emergent financial needs. Additionally, a portion of the 2017 event proceeds supported a “sister-walk” partnership with the international organization, People Helping People, bringing much-needed medical equipment, supplies and services to breast cancer patients in poverty-stricken El Salvador.

In 2018, top funding priorities include continued expansion of breast health programming, assisting those who may be in financial crisis during their treatment and empowering survivors.

Register early for the Walk to receive a t-shirt with the $30 entry fee. The entry fee for children ages 18 and under is $15. Same-day registration is $10 more for adults and $5 more for children 18 and under. T-shirt availability is not guaranteed for day-of registrants. Register at  www.BeverlyBreastCancerWalk.org.